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Updated: May 2

A culinary retreat with Chef Dora and a Michelin-starred chef in a beautiful Sicilian villa is an experience you will cherish for a lifetime.

The magnificent villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade nesteld on the foot of Mount Etna

Immerse yourself in Sicilian culinary traditions and discover the magical blend of history, mythology, warm hospitality and gastronomic experiences that only Sicily can offer.

Table of Sicilian specialties available each day for the culinary retreat participants.

Highlights of this culinary retreat in a splendid Sicilian villa include not only hands-on cooking classes with Dora, the chef in residence at Villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade, but also a visit to a vineyard and cheese factory with wine and ricotta tasting, making your own cannolis, producing your own limoncello, a discovery of Sicilian street food, a visit to the market in the heart of Catania, an exclusive culinary experience with Catania's first and only Michelin-starred chef, Alessandro Ingiulla, and guided excursions to some of the region's most iconic sites, including the still active volcano Etna.

Dora (right), chef-in-residence at Villa Tre delle Tre Contrade, with the founder of TOURIS (center) and a member of the brigade.

You will also have the chance to visit the towns of Taormina. Syracuse, Ortigia and Noto, as well as wander through their fabulous open-air markets. All this in the luxurious setting of the Rocca delle Tre Contrade, one of the most beautiful villas in the Mediterranean.

A view of the beautiful Taormina, a hilltop town on the east coast of Sicily, famous for its ancient theater.

The history of Villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade is inextricably linked to the richness of the soil on which it was built.

Beautiful swimming pool of Villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade.

Built on a promontory at the foot of Mount Etna, with a panoramic view of the Ionian Sea, the house was originally intended as a base for its aristocratic owners to supervise the harvest. They lived in the two upper floors, the vast rooms on the first floor teeming with activity.

Mount Etna, a volcano still in activity.

It was also the local wine that brought the villa and its current owner, Jon Moslet, together after the latter started a business exporting little-known Italian products to Scandinavia. Jon and his partner Marco Scire first saw Tre Contrade while visiting a nearby property.

« We jumped the fence and knew immediately that this would be our home »,

Jon recalls in a 2017 article in House & Garden.

Elegant and contemporary decor of the Villa.

« There is this atmosphere of peace, well-being and freedom. Even now, it feels exactly like the first time. »

He couldn't be more right.

The building, the property and the interior design are exceptional and the result of a project, which took more than 10 years, and which saw the gradual transformation of a ruin into a gem of contemporary architecture.

The construction of the property's vast wine cellar was the final step in the process. It is in this cathedral-like space that the cooking school was built and where a culinary experience retreat for foodies, foodies and passionate home cooks takes place in the spring or fall.

Le cellier et la salle à manger principale de la Villa

In addition to staying in the villa, a real treat in itself, participants in this retreat will spend the week cooking alongside the lovely Sicilian chef-in-residence Dora, including a day with Michelin-starred chef Alessandro Ingiulla, accompanied by his brigade, using ingredients purchased in local markets, participating in cooking classes, and, of course, enjoying unforgettable dishes.

Le chef étoilé Michelin Alessandro Ingiulla.

Imagine yourself immersed in the heart of Sicily, surrounded by the intoxicating aromas of fresh herbs and local produce, as Michelin-starred chef Alessandro Ingiulla guides you through an inspiring day of cooking at Villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade.

From the early hours, we were warmly welcomed by Chef Ingiulla in the well-equipped kitchen of the villa, ready to uncover the secrets of authentic Sicilian cuisine. With his contagious passion for local ingredients and traditional techniques, Chef Ingiulla took us on an unforgettable culinary journey through the unique flavors of Sicily.

Throughout the day, we had the opportunity to prepare a variety of classic Sicilian dishes, from crispy arancini to homemade fresh pasta to delicious seafood specialties from the region. Each step of the process was a masterclass in cooking, where Chef Ingiulla not only shared his recipes but also his love for Sicilian cuisine and his commitment to local and seasonal produce.

The ultra-modern and spacious laboratory dedicated to the cooking class in the culinary retreat.

In addition to cooking together, we also had the chance to taste our creations during a friendly outdoor lunch, overlooking the surrounding vineyards and the sparkling sea. Each dish was a tribute to the richness of Sicilian land, with fresh and bold flavors that evoked memories of past travels and promises of future discoveries.

This day of cooking with Michelin-starred chef Alessandro Ingiulla at Villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade will be etched in our memories as an authentic and enriching culinary experience, where the simple pleasures of Sicilian life came to life through every bite.

Local merchant with tasty terroir products

An evening spent visiting the city of Catania will allow you to taste local cakes made by nuns on the model of the chest of the patron saint of the region, and to taste horse meat steaks (a local specialty) in one of the oldest restaurants in town.

In the heart of the city of Catania.

During the week, the owner of the Villa will guide you to discover the wines of Etna, one of the most fascinating and prestigious wine regions in Europe, as well as a locally renowned ricotta farm.

Barone di Villagrande

During our unforgettable journey in Sicily with TOURIS, we had the pleasure of discovering a unique aspect of Sicilian culinary culture during our visit to the Barone di Villagrande vineyard. In addition to tasting their exceptional wines, we had the opportunity to participate in an authentic experience of making and tasting ricotta cheese, a regional artisan specialty.

Under the expert guidance of a local cheesemaker, we learned the secrets of traditional ricotta cheese making, from processing fresh milk to coagulation and draining of the cheese. It was fascinating to see the artisanal process in action and to understand the importance of each step in producing superior quality ricotta.

Production and tasting of ricotta cheese at the Barone di Villagrande vineyard.

Once the making was complete, we had the pleasure of tasting our freshly made ricotta, accompanied by delicious local products such as honey, olives, and fresh bread. The ricotta was incredibly creamy and flavorful, with subtle nuances of fresh milk that captured the very essence of the Sicilian countryside.

This immersive experience of making and tasting ricotta cheese at the Barone di Villagrande vineyard was a true highlight of our trip. Not only did we have the chance to discover an ancient artisan tradition, but we also had the opportunity to savor authentic flavors and create lasting memories with our group of travelers.

Etna Rosato, a typical Sicilian wine from the Barone di Villagrande winery.

Continuing our exploration of the Barone di Villagrande vineyard, we were treated to a wine tasting session that showcased the exceptional quality and craftsmanship of their wines. Led by a knowledgeable sommelier, we sampled a variety of their award-winning wines, each one reflecting the unique terroir of the region and the expertise of the winemakers.

From crisp whites to full-bodied reds, each wine told its own story, evoking the rich history and vibrant culture of Sicily. The tasting experience was enhanced by the stunning surroundings of the vineyard, with panoramic views of the majestic Mount Etna and the rolling hills of the countryside.

Overall, our visit to the Barone di Villagrande vineyard was a truly unforgettable experience that allowed us to immerse ourselves in the beauty and bounty of Sicilian wine country. We left with a deeper appreciation for the art of winemaking and a collection of cherished memories that will last a lifetime.

For food and wine lovers, there is really no better place for a vacation.

This one-week culinary retreat, available in the spring and/or fall of 2024, is offered in Canada exclusively by TOURIS, starting at 6,990 $CAN per person (based on double occupancy), including all meals, accommodations and scheduled local activities.

For more information or to make a reservation, send us an email at

See you soon for more experiences! 


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